Since Kendra cancelled happy hour on Wednesday I made her get drinks with me on Thursday night. I hadn’t had a chance to tell her about my birthday or meeting Brady’s parents. She showed up late to the bar and I immediately demanded she take a shot. Then I rambled on and on about my birthday dinner and the rooftop afterwards. How I had fought with Derrick once again, how Jessica had showed up and rubbed Brady’s thigh, how Brady said he was falling for me.
“Why are you always fighting with Derrick? He’s like the most harmless person on the planet,” she said as if that was highlight of the story.
“Because he’s annoying,” I said, dismissively. “Anyways, what about Jessica? I went to see Brady at work yesterday and they were going to lunch together.”
“So? It’s lunch, not some scandalous rendezvous.”
“How do we know that?”
“Did you ask Brady about it?”
I looked at her like she suggested a threesome between the three of us. “I’m not asking him anything. I would sound like some jealous, mega-attached psycho.”
“He said he’s falling for you, Reese. He isn’t hooking up with Jessica. I’m sure she just has a huge crush on him and he probably likes the attention.”
What she said made sense, but then I realized that I give Brady enough attention so he shouldn’t have to seek any from Jessica. I took a sip of my martini then told Kendra about Brady’s parents. Her only conclusion was that I should’ve never mentioned Obama and that it was obvious (even just from hearing my story) that they were Republicans. She’s right. I definitely should’ve seen the clues.
Finally, I asked her to tell me about her vacation with John.
“It was a ton of fun. We love any chance we can get away from the city,” she said.
“Let me see your ring.”
Kendra rolled her eyes. “He didn’t propose, Reese.”
Thankfully. As much as I like to tease Kendra about getting engaged, the day it happens I’m going to be devastated. Because once she becomes a married woman, she won’t want to go out for drinks and happy hour and get belligerent on weekends. She will become this serious housewife and only want to spend time with her husband. And then she will start having children and we will no longer have anything in common. I would basically be losing my best friend.
After drinks, I texted Brady to see if he was off work yet and he said that he was exhausted and working late. This struck me as weird and all of my insecurities about Jessica came rushing back to the surface. First of all, he was always exhausted – we both were – so why was that an excuse not to hang out? We hang out every single night no matter what time he got off. I didn’t text him back and instead took a relaxing two hour shower and got ready for bed.
I checked my phone and Brady had texted me again saying that he was off work and could come over if I was still up. Oh sure, now that he was done fucking Jessica he wanted to hang out with me.
I put my phone down with no intention of responding and got in bed. I started thinking about how hurt Brady looked when I admitted I didn’t open his gift. How he had bought me a plane ticket to Houston because he sensed that I missed my family. I never expressed to him how much I really did, but he picked up on those clues. Finally, I thought about how he said he was falling for me. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I’m falling for him too.
I quickly picked up my phone and told him that I was sorry, but already in bed. I couldn’t possibly pretend to be mad at him even if I have some suspicions about Jessica.
On Friday, we had our weekly staff meeting and I was going to present some mockups for the watercolor artist collaboration to see if anyone thought it would be worth it.
After I presented, Whitney insisted she share some ideas she’s working on. It really annoyed me because she is supposed to be assisting me with my ideas, not coming up with her own. We are a team, not in competition. She started with the “discount furniture bazaar” idea and talked about how we could be exposed to a ton of clients who had never heard of us. Duh. Because people who can afford our stuff don’t shop at flea markets.
I raised my hands and expressed my concerns about the message it would send if we were being associated “discount.”
Before Whitney could respond, Dave said, “You know, it might actually be good for us. We don’t want to come off as a snobby company. If we make our products available to people who are price conscious, it will show humility.”
I didn’t say anything. Did I mention that I’m a control freak? I am in charge of all marketing and promotion and I know what’s best for the company. I can’t let this flea market shit go down.
Brady called around 7:30 and invited me over. I stuffed some clothes and toiletries in my bag and headed over there.
“Welcome,” Brady said, letting me in. He was still in his clothes from work and I realized that I missed him on the one day we didn’t get to hang out.
“Hello,” I chirped, hugging him. He nuzzled his face in my neck and I felt a tingle rush down between my legs. I pulled away and kissed him. “How was your day?”
“It’s Friday so I can’t complain. Do you want a beer?”
I followed him into the kitchen and he grabbed two beers while I poured a glass of wine. We took our libations to his room and sat there talking about our days. I steered clear of complaining about Whitney because clearly he would take her side. Eventually he said he was going to take a quick shower and I changed into sleeping clothes and got in bed.
I noticed his phone sitting on the night table next to me and I casually picked it up. His background picture was of a German Shepherd dog which I couldn’t decide if I thought was cute or weird. It honestly should have been a picture of me. I was surprised that when I slid to unlock his phone that he didn’t have a passcode so I had full access to everything. I honestly didn’t expect to find anything though.
I looked through the apps he had downloaded, all normal things like his bank, Google Maps, GroupMe, etc. I opened his messages: Me, Mom, Chris… Then I saw the thread with Jessica. I couldn’t even stop myself from opening it.
All the messages were very innocent – at first. Things like “Have a good weekend.” and “The fourth floor is crazy right now.” Mostly Jessica sending messages and Brady responding. Very one sided. I scrolled up more and saw conversations about sports that I didn’t even bother reading because they were so long and I don’t even care about sports. I kept scrolling up until I saw a picture. Jessica sent it – it was of her in a tight black dress taken in a full length mirror.
“Going out tonight. Do you like my outfit?” she’d captioned.
Brady responded, “Looks great.”
I kept scrolling up and then I came upon another picture from Jessica. In this one she was in the same mirror, but she was completely naked. I could see everything – her huge tits (I thought my boobs were pretty big, but hers take the cake), faint bikini tan line, landing strip, and tiny hip tattoo. There was no caption and Brady responded, “Very nice.” I checked the date – May 24. Before Brady and I even met.
I continued refreshing older messages and finding more nude pictures. All from Jessica. She would change her pose up – one where she was touching her vagina, another showed a close up of her boobs and face with her finger in her mouth. Brady always responded with something like “Nice” or “Looks good.” I felt like I was suffocating. I know it all happened before we had even met, but obviously he and Jessica have sexual history and he didn’t bother telling me.
I heard the shower turn off and I quickly sent two of the naked pictures to myself then hopped out of bed. I was embarrassed and hurt, but mostly really fucking pissed off.
I was waiting outside the door when Brady emerged from the shower. He was just wearing a towel around his waist and had water dripping down his chest. I held up his phone with a shaky hand.
“What the fuck?” I said slowly because I couldn’t even think of anything else to say.
Brady looked confused. “What?”
I opened one of the naked pictures and showed it to him. He looked at it blankly.
“I can’t fucking believe this.”
He walked passed me and sat on the bed.
“How could you introduce me to Jessica and fail to mention that you guys have had some sort of sexual relationship in the past?”
Brady didn’t say anything.
“No wonder she’s been giving me condescending looks. Y’all are probably still hooking up,” I said.
“No,” Brady said calmly.
“Did you fucking have sex with her?” I demanded.
“No!” he exclaimed as if that was the most ridiculous conclusion I could’ve come to after seeing the pictures.
“Then what happened?”
When he didn’t answer, I said, “And don’t say ‘nothing’ because that’s a fucking lie.”
“Once,” he said, quietly. “We went in an empty patient room. And she…” He trailed off.
He started making gestures with his hands that told me he didn’t know what to say.
“She sucked your dick?”
Brady sighed. “Yeah.”
“You’re fucking gross,” I glared at him.
I suddenly remembered back to the night of the charity event when I tried to have sex with him in the bathroom and he told me no. He couldn’t hook up with me at a work event, but he could hook up with Jessica at work? I don’t know if I overestimated him or underestimated him. I thought he was too mature and conservative to do such a thing in a public place, but clearly he was very capable of it.
“I owe you a huge apology. I withheld that information because I am not proud of it. I understand why you’re upset and you deserved to know.”
I crossed my arms across my chest.
“I’m terribly sorry. I’m really embarrassed,” Brady said.
“You’re embarrassed?” I seethed. “Imagine how I feel. You’re flaunting Jessica in my face knowing what happened between y’all. Do you understand how stupid it makes me look? Now the b-day comment and the thigh touching all makes perfect sense.”
Brady’s brow furrowed.
“Is there anything I can do to remedy this situation?” he asked very calmly.
“No!” I screeched. And then I became aware of the delicate iPhone in my hand. No protector case or passcode? Silly Brady. “Have a nice life!”
I threw the phone with all of my strength on the tile bathroom floor and heard a painful sounding crack. I grabbed my bag and stormed out of there while Brady watched me, but didn’t try to stop me.
I got in my car and took a few deep breaths. It wasn’t until I started driving that I realized that yes, I was mad as fuck, but I was actually way more hurt. I like Brady. Way more than I ever planned to.
Even though my eyes felt hot with tears and I had a dry lump in my throat, I wasn’t going to let myself cry. Fuck that.
I already know what y’all are going to say. Bring it on.